So, I was fitted for a uniform and began to attend regular meetings. You can imagine my excitement when I learned we would be going camping over a three day weekend that summer! Oh, boy!
|Our pup tent|
|This will kill ya|
That night, no one slept a wink. Every little sound was magnified by the night and our collective fear. We could hear critters moving just feet away from the tent fabric. We imagined every rustle of the grass was a huge rattler or perhaps a bobcat. Someone mentioned that Texas was home to tarantulas, which lived in abundance in that very area. I was so scared I wanted to die. There was no way I was gonna live to see my mom and dad and brother again.
|Grapevine has a pleasant, grape-like taste when smoked|
The next day we had classes on how to tie various knots and how to build a fire. Now, this was more like it! Although let me hasten to add that no one was sleeping at night. That fear factor was still present, although only one more snake had been killed by our group. Besides snakes, our camp area was overrun by armadillos. The armadillo is probably the stupidest animal ever. But, God must love 'em because He made so darn many. They would run through the brush at night by our tents and scare the devil out of us.
|I thought the armadillo was the stupidest thing on earth until I went on a snipe hunt|
Our last night at camp featured the older boys in our group taking us younger guys off into the woods for a midnight snipe hunt. We were given pillowcases in which to capture the snipes. We were led individually into the dark, extremely creepy woods and told to kneel down and be very quiet and hold our pillowcase at the ready. When a snipe came by, we were to snag it in our pillowcase. I had never heard of snipes before, but the older guys assured me that they were little birds that lived in the woods. I was told to kneel there and be patient.
By about 3:00 AM I knew I had been had. About that time, us snipers were rounded up and taken back to camp where we were made fun of and generally made to feel stupid---which we were. I was beginning to have some serious doubts about this whole concept of "scouting".
The final exclamation point on the unforgettable weekend came when I finally arrived home on Sunday afternoon. I was tired, embarrassed, filled with low self-esteem, but happy to finally have access to a shower, air conditioning and my own bed. My mom hugged me, but then all hell broke loose. She discovered, unbeknownst to me, that I was covered, head to foot, with ticks. She pulled 24 of them off of me. Some of them had been there for days---they were fat with the blood they had sucked out of me. Others were still skinny and "just getting started". They were in my scalp and all over---and under---my body.
|I was covered with these|